Taiwan's voice needs to be heard internationally: Canadian PM Trudeau

05/19/2022 12:24 PM
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Image taken from facebook.com/JustinPJTrudeau
Image taken from facebook.com/JustinPJTrudeau

Toronto, May 18 (CNA) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons Wednesday that his government's longstanding position was to ensure Taiwan's voice was heard in multilateral forums.

Trudeau had been asked by Conservative MP and Shadow Foreign Minister Michael Chong (莊文浩) whether Ottawa supported Taiwan's participation in the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA), and the 41st assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Trudeau told Chong that Canada's longstanding position was to support "Taiwan's inclusion in multilateral forums, [and] multilateral bodies to make sure that their perspective is heard."

Despite Trudeau's declaration of support, Canada did not sign onto a 13-country proposal inviting Taiwan to participate as an observer in the WHA, the annual decision-making forum of the World Health Organization (WHO), which begins Sunday in Geneva.

Taiwan, officially named the Republic of China, was expelled from the WHO, ICAO, and other United Nations (U.N.) specialized agencies after losing its seat in the U.N. in 1971.

During the then-Kuomintang (KMT) administration, which maintained friendlier relations with Beijing, the WHO had invited Taiwan to take part as an observer in the WHA every year from 2009 to 2016.

Participating under the name "Chinese Taipei," this practice ended after the Democratic Progressive Party, which Beijing has accused of "conducting separatist acts on the international stage," came to power in 2016.

Taiwan under the KMT was also invited to attend the ICAO assembly in 2013 as a "special guest" of the then-ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh González following a special arrangement involving China.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada (TECO), Taiwan's representative office in Canada, on Wednesday expressed its gratitude to Trudeau for his support.

Trudeau's remarks mark the third consecutive year he has publicly endorsed Taiwan's involvement in the WHA, and the first time he expressed public support for Taiwan's bid to join ICAO, which will take place this year in Montreal in September, TECO said.

TECO also thanked the Standing Committee on Health, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities, and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of the Canadian House of Commons which respectively adopted a motion on April 27, May 5, and May 16 supporting Taiwan's full participation in the WHA, WHO and ICAO.

The motions adopted by the committees were a testament to the recognition by like-minded partners of the importance of Taiwan's participation in international organizations, TECO said.

(By Hu Yu-li and Shih Hsiu-chuan)

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